Presidential Elections Postponed again, New Session Set for May

The 38th session to elect a president was postponed on Monday following a renewed lack of quorum at parliament.

Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled the new electoral session for May 10.

LBCI television said that 53 lawmakers were present at Monday's session, a drop from the previous one.

It noted that none of the heads of parliamentary blocs were on hand.

Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb, who was present at the session, slammed the “shameful” failure to elect a head of state, saying that he came to parliament because he has a “constitutional role to fulfill.”

He reiterated his proposal for a constitutional amendment to tackle electoral sessions, saying that he is in the process of garnering the needed signatures to ratify it.

The draft-law demands that MPs attend electoral sessions and those who fail to do so for three consecutive sessions will automatically have their right to vote for a president revoked. He clarified that the MP will not lose his seat in parliament.

Another proposal in the draft-law calls for reducing the quorum during the third electoral session from two-thirds of MPs to a simple majority.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of a successor.

Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps have thwarted the polls that are being contested between Change and Reform bloc head MP Michel Aoun, Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh, and Democratic Gathering MP Henri Helou.

The Loyalty to the Resistance bloc of Hizbullah announced earlier this year that it would boycott electoral sessions until it receives guarantees that its ally, Aoun, is elected head of state.

Harb deemed such a stance as “shameful,” adding that it contradicts democracy.



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